Safety Tip

  • Never cook when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire.
  • Make sure pans and utensils are dry – oil and water don’t mix. Never use water to extinguish a cooking oil fire.
  • If the oil starts to boil (bubbling), remove it from the heat source. Just lowering the temperature of the burner will not reduce the heat quickly enough, especially on an electric stovetop.
  • Be careful not to over-fill your pan or pot with oil. You need enough room in the pan to allow for the food to be added. If you have too much oil in the pan, oil is likely to overflow the pan and contact the burner, where it can catch fire.
  • If the oil catches fire, wearing an oven mitt, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the fire. Turn off the burner. Keep the pan covered until the oil cools to prevent it from starting again.
  • If the oil has overflowed from the pan and ignites, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department from outside.

Overheated cooking oil will start to bubble or froth excessively and/or smoke. The frothing action might cause the oil to overflow the pan and ignite. The fire is intense and could surge up and out of the pan almost instantly.

Facts and figures

  • A study published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 75% of range or stove fires started with food ignitions. Forty-three percent began with cooking oil; 33% started with fish or meat. Sixty-three percent of the range or stove fires beginning with food occurred when someone was frying.
  • Fifty-eight percent of the people who were injured in non-fatal reported home cooking fires during 2005-2009 were injured when they tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • One of every four home fires reported in 2005-2009 started with fat or grease. One of every three reported fire injuries resulted from these fires
Source: NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division
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